Football Prepares for Northwestern

November 2, 1998

Purdue Boilermakers (5-4, 3-2 Big Ten)
at Northwestern Wildcats (2-7, 0-6 Big Ten)
Ryan Field (47,129) - Evanston, Illinois
November 7, 1998 - 11:10 a.m. CST

RADIO: WAZY (96.5 FM) / Purdue Sports Radio Network Joe McConnell (play-by-play), Pete Quinn (color commentary), Tim Newton (pregame/halftime/postgame)

TELEVISION: ESPN+ Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play), Randy Wright (color commentary), Jim Barbar (sideline)

A LOOK AT THE BOILERMAKERS: The Purdue football team, under second-year head coach Joe Tiller, travels to Northwestern on Saturday, Nov. 7. The Boilermakers are coming off a 36-14 victory over Iowa in West Lafayette on Oct. 31. Last season the Boilermakers enjoyed a storybook campaign by finishing 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten for a second-place tie (with Ohio State and Penn State). Purdue defeated Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl 33-20 and was No. 15 in the final Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today national polls.

MICHIGAN STATE GAME TIME SET: The Purdue-Michigan State game in East Lansing on Nov. 14 will begin at 12:10 p.m. EST and be televised live by ESPN+.

HEAD COACH JOE TILLER: Joe Tiller is in his second season as Purdue,s head coach with a 14-7 record (.667 winning percentage) and his eighth season as a collegiate head coach with a 53-37-1 record (.588). He is 27-9 in his last 36 games. Tiller won his 50th career game against Central Florida on Sept. 19, 1998. Tiller was named the Boilermakers, 33rd head coach Nov. 22, 1996. He was the head coach at Wyoming from 1991-96 and compiled a 39-30-1 record. The Cowboys played in the 1993 Copper Bowl and reached the 1996 Western Athletic Conference championship game. In 1997 Tiller was named National Coach-of-the-Year by both Football News and Kickoff magazines, the GTE Region 3 Coach-of-the-Year (Big Ten, Mid-American Conference and Conference USA) by the American Football Coaches Association and the Big Ten Dave McClain Coach-of-the-Year. He also was one of six finalists for the Paul ,Bear0/00 Bryant National Coach-of-the-Year and a finalist for National Coach-of-the-Year by The Sporting News. Tiller was assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Boilermakers from 1983-86.

HISTORY 101 - ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: Purdue and Northwestern have met 65 times previously with the Boilermakers holding a 41-23-1 advantage. The teams last met Sept. 27, 1997, with Purdue winning 21-9 in West Lafayette. Northwestern,s last win was a 27-24 verdict Nov. 16, 1996, in Evanston. The Wildcats also were victorious in 1992 and 1995 (the teams did not play in 1993 and 1994) after the Boilermakers won 15 out of 16 meetings from 1976-91. Purdue holds a 16-4 advantage in the last 20 meetings, dating to the 1976 season. The Boilermakers hold a 22-15-1 advantage in games played in Evanston.

QUICK STARTS ... : Purdue has scored on its first possession in six of nine games (at USC, vs. Rice, at Notre Dame, vs. Minnesota, vs. Illinois and vs. Iowa). On the nine opening drives, quarterback Drew Brees has completed 30 of 38 passes (78.9 percent) for 405 yards with four touchdowns passing, one touchdown rushing and one interception.

... AND QUICK STRIKES: The Boilermakers' 44 scoring drives this season (34 touchdowns and 10 field goals) have amassed 131 minutes and nine seconds. That's an average of 2:59 per scoring drive. Purdue's shortest scoring drive has been seven seconds vs. Iowa, while its longest has been 6:52 vs. Iowa.

FELLS NAMED BIG TEN CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYER-OF-THE-WEEK: Junior linebacker Willie Fells was named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player-of-the-Week (with Andy Katzenmoyer of Ohio State) for the week ending Nov. 1. Fells paced Purdue with 13 tackles, including four unassisted, and tied the school record with two fumble recoveries in the Boilermakers' 36-14 win over Iowa. He is the first Purdue player to earn defensive honors since linebacker Mike Rose for the week ending Sept. 28, 1997.

1998 CAPTAINS: Purdue's captains this season are senior defensive end Rosevelt Colvin and senior wide receiver Isaac Jones. In addition, one or more additional captains are selected for each game USC (John Reeves),Rice (Jim Niedrach), Central Florida (Willie Fells and Lee Johnson), Notre Dame (Henry Bell and Chukky Okobi), Minnesota (David Cohen), Wisconsin (Drew Brees), Penn State (Randall Lane), Illinois (Brees and Reeves) and Iowa (Matt Light and David Nugent).

GAME 9 RECAP (PURDUE 36, IOWA 14): Sophomore quarterback Drew Brees did another number on the Purdue record book as the Boilermakers rolled to a 36-14 win over Iowa before 50,443 fans at Ross-Ade Stadium on Oct. 31. Brees threw four touchdown passes to raise his season total to 24 and break the school record of 23 shared by Mike Phipps (1969), Mark Herrmann (1980) and Jim Everett (1985). Brees completed 31 of 44 passes for 362 yards. Senior wide receiver Isaac Jones caught a career-high 11 passes for 113 yards with a touchdown, while senior wide receiver Gabe Cox had seven receptions for 69 yards and redshirt freshman tight end Tim Stratton had five receptions for 69 yards with two touchdowns. Junior wide receivers Randall Lane and Robert Tolbert also caught scoring strikes. Redshirt freshman running back Dondre Johnson rushed for a season-high 109 yards on 25 carries. The Boilermakers amassed 541 yards total offense while limiting Iowa to just 256 yards. Junior linebacker Willie Fells anchored the defense with 13 tackles while tying the school record with two fumble recoveries. Senior defensive back Billy Gustin equalled the school standard of two forced fumbles, while senior cornerback Henry Bell and redshirt freshman defensive back Ben Smith both recorded interceptions.

NEW FACES: The Boilermakers have had 17 players make their first collegiate start this season (10 on offense and seven on defense), plus freshman kicker Travis Dorsch. In addition, senior defensive end Chike Okeafor has made his first start since the 1996 season (he did not play in 1997).

A STRONG BREES: Sophomore quarterback Drew Brees has completed 266 of 394 passes (67.5 percent) for 2,982 yards with a school-record 24 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. If the season ended today, he would establish a school season record for completion percentage (the current standard is .658, 242 of 368, by Mark Herrmann in 1980). Brees ranks fifth on the school season passing yards list and 10th on the career passing yards list with 3,214 in 16 games.

HURRICANE DREW: Drew Brees set school records for yards passing (522), total offense (524) and touchdown passes (6) in just three quarters vs. Minnesota. The previous marks were 516 yards passing by Scott Campbell (vs. Ohio State on Oct. 31, 1981); 482 yards total offense by Jim Everett (at Ohio State on Oct. 19, 1985); and five touchdowns by Mike Phipps (vs. Stanford on Oct. 4, 1969), Mark Herrmann (vs. Iowa on Oct. 22, 1977) and Billy Dicken (at Minnesota on Oct. 11, 1997). Brees, passing yardage total was the third-highest in Big Ten history (behind 621 by Dave Wilson of Illinois at Ohio State on Nov. 8, 1980, and 558 by Chuck Hartlieb of Iowa at Indiana on Oct. 29, 1988), as was his total offense yardage (behind 585 by Wilson in the above game and 536 by Tim Schade of Minnesota at Penn State on Sept. 4, 1993). The Big Ten record for touchdown passes is seven by Hartlieb at Northwestern on Nov. 7, 1987. Three other players have thrown for six in conference games. Brees, passing efficiency rating of 262.91 was fifth in Big Ten games, while his completion percentage of .861 (31 of 36) was just short of the school record of .864 (19 of 22) by Bob Griese vs. Notre Dame on Sept. 25, 1965.

MORE BREES: Drew Brees set the NCAA Division I passing attempts record with 83 at Wisconsin. The previous mark was 79 by Matt Vogler of Texas Christian vs. Houston on Nov. 3, 1996. Brees tied the Division I record with 55 completions (also held by Rusty LaRue of Wake Forest vs. Duke on Oct. 28, 1995). Brees, 494 yards passing at Wisconsin were the fourth-most in school history and sixth-most in Big Ten history.

AND EVEN MORE BREES: Drew Brees' school-record 24 touchdown passes rank fourth on the Big Ten season list behind Bobby Hoying of Ohio State with 29 in 1995, Chuck Long of Iowa with 27 in 1985 and Elvis Grbac of Michigan with 25 in 1991.

MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK: A total of 15 different players (including quarterback Drew Brees on a batted attempt) have caught passes this season. The breakdown by game at USC (10), vs. Rice (8), vs. Central Florida (five), at Notre Dame (seven), vs. Minnesota (10), at Wisconsin (10), at Penn State (eight), vs. Illinois (10) and vs. Iowa (eight).

THE OFFENSE LIKES IKE: Senior wide receiver Isaac Jones ranks eighth on Purdue's career receptions list with 130. Next up are Jim Beirne (1965-67) and Calvin Williams (1986-89) with 138 receptions apiece. Jones ranks 10th with 1,525 receiving yards. Next up is Cliff Benson (1980-83) with 1,546 yards. Jones had a career-high 11 receptions for 113 yards with onetouchdown vs. Iowa on Oct. 31, 1998.

FAST LANE AND DANDY DANIELS: Junior wide receiver Randall Lane set a Big Ten record with 18 receptions (for 178 yards) at Wisconsin. The previous mark was 17 (for 208 yards) by Jon Harvey of Northwestern vs. Michigan on Oct. 23, 1982. The Purdue record was 15 (for 190 yards) by Rodney Carter at Ohio State on Oct. 19, 1985. Also at Wisconsin junior wide receiver Chris Daniels caught 14 passes for 131 yards. It was the third-most in school history and tied for seventh in Big Ten history.

STRATTON AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS: Redshirt freshman tight end Tim Stratton ranks third in the nation among players at his position with 23 receptions. He is tied for fifth with three touchdowns and seventh with 229 receiving yards. Louisville junior Ibn Green leads all three categories with 39 catches for 664 yards and nine touchdowns.

CRACKLIN, ROSEY: Neil Diamond sang the song, and senior defensive end Rosevelt Colvin is making Purdue fans smile. He tops the team with 11 tackles for loss, nine quarterback sacks and two blocked field goals. His two blocks ties the school season record (also held by Kevin Holley in 1986, Steve Jackson in 1989, Kevin Strickland in 1989 and Jarrett Scales in 1990). Colvin has three career blocked field goals to share the school standard with Scales (1987-90). Colvin has 50 career tackles for loss to rank third on the school list.

THE BALL STOPS HERE: Junior linebacker Willie Fells was the Boilermakers' leading tackler last season with 131 stops (third in the Big Ten). He tops the team again this season with 84 tackles, including 51 solos. Fells has finished with double-figure stops in five games (13 at USC, 15 vs. Rice, 10 at Notre Dame, 11 at Wisconsin and 13 vs. Iowa) and has 12 double-figure efforts during his career (nine in his last 14 games, dating to 1997). His career high is 20 tackles (15 solos) at Iowa on Nov. 1, 1997.

FROM "POOCH" TO "POP": In 1997 Danny Rogers was Purdue's "pooch punter" who specialized in directional punting deep inside opponents, territory (six of his 23 punts were downed inside the 20-yard line). This season the junior is handling all the punting chores, and he has a 42.1-yard average. He had a career-long 63-yarder at USC on Aug. 30, 1998, and equalled it vs. Central Florida on Sept. 19, 1998. Rogers ranks fourth on Purdue,s career punting average list at 39.3 (107 punts for 4,201 yards). Of his 107 career punts, 31 have come to rest inside the 20-yard line (29 percent).

THREE FOR TRAVIS: Freshman kicker Travis Dorsch converted three field goals at Notre Dame (from 37, 40 and a career-high 47 yards). It marked the first time a Purdue kicker made good on three field goals since Brad Bobich vs. Penn State on Oct. 14, 1995 (from 37, 21 and 22 yards). Dorsch,s 47-yard effort was the longest by a Purdue kicker since Larry Sullivan tied the school record with a 51-yarder at Minnesota on Oct. 7, 1989, and it is sixth-longest in school history (behind two from 51, one from 50 and two from 49). Dorsch also made three field goals at Wisconsin (from 45, 44 and 45 yards). The last Purdue kicker to hit three or more field goals from 40-plus yards in a game was Jonathan Briggs (from 47, 49, 44 and 47 yards) at Illinois on Oct. 11, 1986. For the season Dorsch is 10 of 16 on field goal attempts (62.5 percent), including 6 of 9 from 40-plus yards.

HOME COOKING: The Boilermakers are 5-0 at home in the friendly confines of Ross-Ade Stadium this season and 10-1 in two years under head coach Joe Tiller. The only loss is a 42-17 setback to No. 6 Penn State on Nov. 15, 1997.

"QB" SCHOOL: Purdue has the reputation as one of the nation's premier quarterback schools. Previous signal-callers include Len Dawson (1954-56), Bob Griese (1964-66), Mike Phipps (1967-69), Gary Danielson (1970-72), Mark Herrmann (1977-80), Scott Campbell (1980-83) and Jim Everett (1982-85). Dawson led the Kansas City Chiefs to a victory in Super Bowl IV and Griese won two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins (VII and VIII). According to research by Sports Illustrated, Purdue ranks fifth all-time among schools whose QB alums have thrown more than 10,000 passes in the NFL. The list includes Brigham Young (81.6 rating), Miami (77.3), Washington (76.9), Oregon (75.1) and Purdue (74.5). In addition, Purdue quarterbacks have thrown more NFL touchdown passes than QB,s from any other school.

This Date In Purdue Football History
(November 7)

Nov. 7, 1891 - First-year coach Knowlton "Snake" Ames led the Boilermakers to a 30-0 victory over intrastate rival DePauw at home. Bob Lackey and Jesse Little both scored two touchdowns. Purdue finished the season 4-0 (shuting out all four opponents), and Ames was 12-0 in his two seasons as coach (the Boilermakers outscoring their opponents 512-24.

Nov. 7, 1931 - The Boilermakers, under second-year head coach Noble Kizer, defeated Centenary 49-6 at Ross-Ade Stadium. Sophomore quarterback Paul Pardonner scored three touchdowns. Purdue went on to share the Big Ten Conference championship (with Michigan and Northwestern) with a 5-1 conference record and finish 9-1 overall.

Nov. 7, 1970 - Senior halfback Stan Brown had a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but it wasn't enough as Purdue lost to Michigan State 24-14 before 61,113 fans at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. Brown also scored on a 2-yard run.




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